Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool are in ‘a difficult period’ after Napoli humbling
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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp could look to deploy Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield for his side’s Premier League clash with Wolves this weekend as he desperately seeks to address the club’s current malaise. The Reds were humiliated 4-1 by Napoli in their Champions League opener on Wednesday night, providing Klopp with plenty of cause for concern.
The German saw his side dismantled in the first half at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, conceding three without reply in a 45-minute period which could have seen them ship far more. Despite the introduction of Joel Matip for the struggling Joe Gomez at the interval, Liverpool began the second half how they ended the first: conceding once again, with Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski grabbing his second of the game.
Luis Diaz then netted a consolation for last season’s Champions League runners-up, but the damage had already been done and Liverpool were left to settle for a lacklustre opening day loss. In the wake of the damning defeat, Klopp declared this weekend’s opponents Wolves will no doubt be “laughing” at Liverpool’s woes while admitting his side must find a way to “reinvent” themselves.
One particular solution may be to finally deploy Alexander-Arnold in midfield. The right-back is revered for his attacking tendencies and creative output, however on Wednesday, the England international once again came unstuck defensively.
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Napoli enjoyed particular success down the left with Alexander-Arnold and Gomez exposed time and time again. Liverpool’s high-line was also constantly exploited while Klopp’s side were overrun in midfield and devoid of presence, personality and creativity in the centre of the park.
Given Alexander-Arnold’s technical ability, there have been calls for some time now to see the 23-year-old utilised in a midfield role. It is thought the Liverpool academy graduate would be capable of controlling play from the centre of the pitch while using his attacking influence to greater effect.
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After seeing their turbulent start to the season come to a head against Napoli, Liverpool are in dire need of some kind of solution heading into the weekend as they seek to turn the tide. Playing Alexander-Arnold in an advanced role where the defensive demands are minimised may be just the tactical tweak required.
The ploy would likely provide a double benefit to Klopp’s team, strengthening in midfield while allowing the German to tighten up his leaky backline by selecting a more defensive-minded and cautious player at right-back. Perhaps now is the time to finally roll the dice regarding Alexander-Arnold. Needs must and all that.
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